Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Frederick P. Victoria & Son




Have you ever wanted a touch of Elsie de Wolfe in your home? Or wanted to channel the cool elegance of Babe Paley? Well, you can do that, in a way, with furniture from the venerable firm Frederick P. Victoria & Son. F.P. Victoria has been in existence since the 1930s, and their clientele has included design and style icons alike- Billy Baldwin, Cole Porter, Duchess of Windsor. Fortunately, F.P. Victoria has maintained an extensive archive of their custom pieces, many of which are named for the particular client. I also believe that some of the items are inspired by famous pieces.

Below are some of the designs that F.P. Victoria currently lists on their website. I've tried to include what information that I could, but for those of you who are well informed about de Wolfe, Maugham, Porter, and the like, I would appreciate it if you could share with us any additional information. I know that I'm quite curious!

Elsie de Wolfe


Elsie de Wolfe side table

Cole Porter


Cole Porter side chair


Baldwin/Porter Coffee Table

Syrie Maugham


Syrie Maugham model reproduction Louis XV step magazine table

The Windsors


Chippendale style Chinoiserie Bookcase


The original- George III style japanned etageres from the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor


Windsor Hurricane Lamp, originally made for the Windsors by F.P. Victoria in the 1950s

Babe Paley


Paley Venetian Mirror, based on a mirror sold to Babe Paley in the 1960s.

Image at top: Elsie de Wolfe mirrored bench after a Serge Roche design for de Wolfe

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for the introduction Jennifer. I do love the Windsor etagere!

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  2. All so beautiful, especially the Cole Porter chair and the Windsor book case!

    Thanks for sharing this... I'd never heard of them.

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  3. What magnificent pieces. They are all treasures!!!!

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  4. I'm particularly taken with that etagere. And I adore the Cole Porter side chair- so unusual and beautiful.

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  5. I was surprised by the variety of items on their website...my impression had been that their focus was on a style that was fairly specific (the more traditional decorators at McMillen, for example). I think the end tables in the yellow oval room at the White House (when Sister Parish decorated it) were from them. You can see them at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sister_Parish

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  6. Morris-I've always like those type of end tables. Perhaps F.P. Victoria should publish a catalog/book about the pieces they've published for the prominent decorators of the 20th c.

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  7. djellabah12:22 PM

    I'm confused by the wording of this posting. (1) The Windsors' chinoiserie etageres were designed and made by Jansen and sold as such in the Windsor auction at Sotheby's -- the Victoria site only calls its version a reproduction, NOT that it was originally purveyed by Frederick P. Victoria and sold to the Windsors. (2) Ditto the Elsie de Wolfe stool. It is an adaptation of a Serge Roche design that had white-plaster paw-form feet -- which de Wolfe bought directly from Serge Roche in the early 1930s and used in various interiors, including the home of Gary Cooper and the townhouse of Hope Hampton. (3) The Cole Porter side chair I will do some research on, but I believe that Victoria's is a copy/adaptation/reproduction of one that was part of the extensive collection of French antiques assembled by Porter's wife, Linda. Again, NOT something originally purveyed by Frederick P. Victoria and sold to Cole Porter.

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  8. Anonymous1:05 PM

    I really appreciate this posting and would just like to add a few comments. My Father sold the original Geo III etagere to the Windors in the '50s and they took it (it was a single with raised chinese style lacquer decor on a red ground) to Paris and their Bois de Boulogne home. While there, they had Jansen make two copies, of which you show one in your photo. The floor standing hurricane was also originally made for them and the Bois de Boulogne house.
    Our firm, now in its third generation, specializes in originals of quite a broad design inspiration. Our own design creations are quite often inspired by the years of unusual antiques that have passed through our doors. That same history also allows us to create entirely new designs when required. In this regard, the Victoria Design Library of over 1200 full size drawings is a great help both to us and our professional clients.
    Please visit: www.fpvictoria.com.
    A. Victoria

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  9. Jennifer - it's so interesting that these pieces are all from the same spot. I adore the Paley mirror. With all these boys, I need a little girliness -that would do it. Can't wait to check the site.

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  10. Jennifer, I agree on both counts. Do you think that they made the Porter bookcases that Baldwin designed?

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  11. I really appreciate this posting and would just like to add a few comments. My Father sold the original Geo III etagere to the Windors in the '50s and they took it (it was a single with raised chinese style lacquer decor on a red ground) to Paris and their Bois de Boulogne home. While there, they had Jansen make two copies, of which you show one in your photo. The floor standing hurricane was also originally made for them and the Bois de Boulogne house.
    Our firm, now in its third generation, specializes in originals of quite a broad design inspiration. Our own design creations are quite often inspired by the years of unusual antiques that have passed through our doors. That same history also allows us to create entirely new designs when required. In this regard, the Victoria Design Library of over 1200 full size drawings is a great help both to us and our professional clients.
    Please visit: www.fpvictoria.com.
    A. Victoria

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  12. Mr. Victoria- Thank you for this clarification- I was rather uncertain about the lineage of this piece, so this helps immensely! Morrismore has a good question- did your firm make those wonderful Baldwin bookcases?

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  13. djellabah- I knew that some pieces were inspired by various antiques and some were custom, but I was unsure about the origin of some of the designs. Your comments certainly help to clarify things- I'd love to hear what you find out about the Cole Porter chair.

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  14. Regarding the question concerning the iconic bookcases we made for Porter's office at BB's direction, the inspiration for them actually came from a brass and calamander wood whatnot which we had. The unique thing about it, and the thing that allows one to differentiate those we made from the later knock offs is that the cross moldings on the underside of the shelves were functional: firmly attached to the legs they pervented racking of the structure.
    I still have photos of the whatnot.
    As for the question rearding the Cole Porter side chair, the model got that name from a set of originals made by Georges Jacob which my Father sold to CP. We made some to fill out the set, I believe, and continued to offer the model. Some time later, my Father came up with the elegant idea for the lacquer panel back version. We had the panels made for us in Paris. Those were the days!
    Tony

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  15. Forgot to answer the comment re the de Wolfe "X" bench. The writer is absolutely correct that the model was created and sold quite successfully by Serge Roche. Elsie (who loved white and green!) used them too. When I bought the contents of her Versailles Circus Room back in the 80's there were two examples among the furnishings. My Father knew Roche and the example which he had and which was drawn and entered into our Design Library probably came directly from him. However, when my Son, Freddy, and I decided to once again offer the bench, I did not think it incorrect to call it the de Wolfe/Roche bench, which is how we refer to it in our showroom and on our website.
    Tony

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  16. The Paley mirror is breathtaking.

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  17. August company indeed. I'm headed for the website and then to knock over the nearest bank. Thanks!

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  18. Tony- Wow! Well, thank you for answering the question about the bookcases. In the past, there has been much discussion here on the blog about those bookcases (I believe most of us want some just like them!). I still think you should publish a book on your business- it's an important part of American design history.

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  19. wow- i love when the comments are as infomative as the post. very entertaining!

    as usual, great work, peak!

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  20. Dear peak of Chic!

    WOW! the people that read our blogs!!

    You would never realise it would you!

    Me? That cole porter chair and venetian mirror are standouts;-)

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  21. I'm a bit late posting a comment to this post... I am getting confused about the E de Wolfe two-tier side table at the top of the post.(as I also saw it on 1stdibs.) Did she originally design it or did FP Victoria copy the design from another designer de Wolfe used and incorporate it in her work for her clients later in her career? When names such as de Wolfe's or other decorators get attached to furniture items, I am never clear on the attribution. Ok, thanks and always read your blog...

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